31st GST Council Meeting – News, Updates & Highlights

The 31st GST council meeting was held on 22 Dec 2018 and some major decisions into Goods and Services Tax law for reduction in rates were pronounced by the council. Get a brief about the important changes and their press release given effect in this meeting.

Reductions in rates( press release)

In 31st GST council meeting these prominent decisions were taken

CategoryOld GST RateNew Reduced rates
Cinema tickets above Rs. 100 28%18%
Cinema tickets upto Rs. 10018%12%
Third party insurance premium of goods carrying vehicles18%12%

Air travel of pilgrims by

  • Non-scheduled or
  • Charter operations,

Specially undertaken for religious pilgrimage facilitated by the Indian Government and coming under the bilateral arrangements, shall attract

  • The same rate of GST which is applicable to similar flights in Economy class (i.e. 5% with ITC of input services).

Exemption on services

  • Services rendered by banks to Basic Saving Bank Deposit (BSBD) account holders under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) shall be exempted.
  • Services rendered by rehabilitation professionals recognised under Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992 to
    1. Medical establishments,
    2. Educational institutions,
    3. Rehabilitation centers established by the Central, State or Union Territories Government or
    4. Entities which are registered under section 12AA of the Income-tax Act shall be exempted.
  • Services provided by GTA to Government departments/local authorities which have taken registration only for the purpose of deducting tax under Section 51 shall be excluded from payment of tax under RCM and the same shall be exempted.
  • Exemption on services provided by
    1. Central, State or Union Territory Government to their undertakings or PSUs by way of guaranteeing loans taken from financial institutions is being extended to guaranteeing of such loans taken from the banks.

Recommendations made during 31st Meeting of the GST Council held on 22nd December, 2018 (New Delhi)-Rate changes ( Press release)

(1) GST rate reduction on goods which were earlier attracting GST rate of 28%

(a) 28% to 18%

  • The Pulleys, transmission shafts and cranks, gear boxes etc., falling under HS Code 8483  
  • Monitors and TVs of upto 32 inches screen size
  • Re-treaded or used pneumatic tyres of rubber;  
  • Power banks of lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries are already at 18%. This will bring congruence in GST rate of power bank and lithium ion battery.  
  • Digital cameras and video camera recorders  
  • Video game consoles, other games or sports requisites which fall under the HS code 9504.

(b) 28% to 5%

  • Parts and accessories for the carriages for the disabled persons

(2) GST rate reduction on other goods,-

(a) 18% to 12%

  • Cork roughly squared or debagged  
  • Articles of natural cork
  • Agglomerated cork

(b) 18% to 5%

  • Marble rubble

(c) 12% to 5%

  • Natural cork  
  • Walking Stick  
  • Fly ash Blocks

(d)12% to Nil:

  • Music Books

(e) 5% to Nil

  • Vegetables, (whether uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water), frozen, branded and put in a unit container  
  • Vegetables provisionally preserved but are unsuitable in that state for isntant consumption.

(3) GST on solar power generating plant and other renewable energy plants

  • GST at 5% rate has been prescribed on renewable energy devices & parts for their manufacture. Manufacturing to be done by any of these modes like biogas plant, solar power based devices, solar power generating system (SGPS) etc. These items fall under chapter 84, 85 or 94 of the Tariff code. Other goods or services which are used in these plants attract applicable GST rates respectively.
  • Certain disputes have arisen regarding GST rates where specified goods attracting 5% GST are supplied along with the services of construction etc and other goods for solar power plant.  
  • To resolve the issue the Council has recommended that in all such cases, 70% of the gross value shall be considered as deemed value of supply of said goods attracting 5% rate. The remaining portion (30%) of the aggregate value of such EPC contract is to be deemed as the value of supply of taxable service and hence shall attract standard GST rate.

Here are some important decisions taken by government which is described in Press release of 31st council

Due Date extension in 31 council meetings

  • The due date for furnishing the annual returns in FORM GSTR-9, FORM GSTR-9A and reconciliation statement in FORM GSTR-9C for the Financial Year 2017 – 2018 shall be further extended till 30.06.2019.
  • Due date for furnishing FORM GSTR-8 by e-commerce operators for the months of October, November and December, 2018 shall be extended till 31.01.2019.
  • The due date for submitting FORM GST ITC-04 for the period starting from July 2017 to December 2018 shall be extended till 31.03.2019.

Late fees waived off in 31st council meeting

  • No Late fee shall be attracted for all taxpayers required to file FORM GSTR-1, FORM GSTR-3B & FORM GSTR-4 for the months or quarters ending July, 2017 to September, 2018, furnished after 22.12.2018 but on or before 31.03.2019.

Other important aspects of 31st council meetings

  • There would be a single cash ledger for each taxation head. The modalities for implementation would be finalised in consultation with GSTN and the Accounting authorities for this purpose.
  • The new return filing system shall be introduced on a trial basis from 01.04.2019 and the same shall become applicable on mandatory basis from 01.07.2019.
  • Taxpayers who have not filed the returns for two consecutive tax periods will not be able to generate e-way bills. The provision shall be made effective once GSTN or NIC make available the required functionality to public.
CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2Win.in. Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.